September 13, 2007

Ode to a Dead Bird on Sept. 11th

A few days ago, on September 11th, 2007, a co-worker and I discovered a dead bird outside our office window.

It was the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Images of that morning here in Vancouver came into my mind, as I'm sure it did for many people. But other than that, September 11, 2007 had started out as a weird morning too, full of nagging little annoyances and discomforts...

Not long after waking up, I got something small and painful stuck in my right eye - like a whisker. My eye went red and watered so much that I couldn't open it much for an hour. This irritation developed into a nagging, annoying headache behind my right eye, which lasted the better part of the day.

My co-worker Victor and I discovered a little chipping sparrow laying dead on it's back, on the second floor balcony right outside my office window. It's little eyes were open, and it's feet were straight up - rigormortis. It must have hit the building pretty fast and died from the impact. Very sad. I love to feed the sparrows and chickadees whenever my wife and I go to the Reiffel Bird Sanctuary out in Ladner. They'll land right on your hand and eat the seed out of your palm if you stand still for a moment or two.

Victor and I discussed the idea of burying the bird somewhere. I thought that burying it under the dirt in a large ceramic planter on the balcony would be quick and reasonable, and might provide some kind of acceptable burial for the poor little thing. Victor suggested that on the ground under a nearby tree would be better. I pictured one of the ladies who manages our office complex trying to dispose of it. Neither of us did anything, but I resolved myself to give the little bird some kind of burial/disposal.

By the time lunch came, my headache was bugging me more, and I felt that I didn't want to be around too much light or noise. I felt a bit anxious about it, but decided to go with my workmates for a quick walk of a few blocks so I could pick up some lunch and return to the office. Vancouver is enjoying a truly delayed summer and it was a beautiful, hot and sunny day. Walking outside with my workmates, the bright sunlight and intense heat really started to bother me. This is a rare thing. I normally love being in the sun, having a walk and getting some fresh air. But this time, all I could think about was getting back inside some dark, air conditioned place as soon as possible. I was maybe a tad over-hungry or dehydrated as well. I just wanted to get away from excess light and noise, and find somewhere quiet to cool off, eat my lunch and get some work done. My reactions are basically a mild form of migraine headache I think. It has happened periodically since I was a teen.

On the walk back to the office, I visualized myself picking up the dead bird and dumping it in a hole in the large planter. I was a little worried that people might see me, and not know what I was doing. It could work, I decided, if I was fast enough. Someone had to take care of that little bird.

I holed up in an unused office and closed the door. Thank god for air conditioning, I sighed, as I felt myself cooling down. After popping a couple of Tylenol (thanks Victor!) and eating lunch, my headache finally went away, and the little bird came back into my mind. I worked alone in the office for a little while more, and then decided that the dead bird wasn't my responsibility, and why did I have to always go worrying about stuff like that anyway? Someone else can deal with it.

So, it's been a couple of days now, and the dead bird is still out there. When I turn my head to the left, I can kind of see it laying on the deck. Maybe I'll dispose of that little bird tomorrow. This is just going to get worse...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think this is totally gay, I mean, there are many stupid people, but you also want to make sure everyone knows how stupid you are.

I suppose you have no life at all, so you have enough time to share your misery life with people with nothing better to do.

E. John Love said...

Thanks for your helpful comment buddy.

If I'm stupid and pathetic for posting this, it says something similar about you pal. Not only did you read my post, but you took the time to comment on it. I guess stupidity attracts stupidity. Why don't you write you own blog instead of lurking around on others' leaving such "witty" remarks?

Anonymous said...

To know you personally e.john love, is to understand your profound feelings for every living creature. I am proof of that and I am reminded daily of your kindness to our son Bobby. If only we had more like you...love you always...Riki Bagnell & family...

E. John Love said...

Riki, thank you!

On a good day, I try to remember the words and actions of the Dalai Lama - the most significant hero I admire today, in terms of compassion and pure, honest living. A lot of the time, I'm truly just as cranky or self-centred as anyone else ;) (Animals are special though... sometimes I do like them more than people.)

Reaching out in small social ways to people with good hearts under rough exteriors, like dear old Bob, has I hope made me a better person. The mix was a little bit of me, and a little bit of him, really. But mine was the easy part. Bob was the one doing all the hard work of rebuilding himself. I saw glimpses of it; how he tried to drag himself up by his own bootstraps... :)

E. John Love said...

For the record, the day after I wrote this post, I got a coupler of plastic bags and carefully deposited the dead bird in the garbage can in the office kitchen.

Anonymous said...

It is a horrendous awakening to see a dead bird lying on the balcony, I have just discovered there is one laying on its side, I imagine it tried to fly in the window to sit on the tree I have inside. I am horrified to leave it there, thinking of the decay and the injustice of a beautiful life. I am horrified to touch it but I must do something before I leave the apartment. I will take a heavy duty plastic garbage bag, and wrap, and roll it all up, then I don't know, I don't want to put it in the garbage bin, and I don't have a shovel. I am somewhat hesitant to leave the house, I hope this is not a bad omen for something horrible to follow.

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Nicole said...

I woke up this morning and found a dead sparrow on my balcony, and was instantly saddened. Poor little thing. Something had to be done about the body though, so I got a tissue and put it in the garbage, then took the garbage out. Felt kind of bad about that but then again it wasn't a pet..."never saw a wild thing sorry for itself" and all that. I can't figure out why it died on my balcony - the drapes are always shut so I don't think it hit the window. Maybe it just landed there to die...that would make sense - anything within five miles that is lost, injured or dying seems to make its way to me.